Two spot kicks were given in Saudi Arabia’s clash against Egypt on Monday, levelling the existing record for penalties at a single finals.
It has been a busy World Cup for both referees and their VAR helpers, who between them have set a new benchmark at the international celebration of football.
The Russia 2018 finals has been notable for an extraordinary number of penalties given, at the rate of more than one every two games so far.
And while we are still deep into the first round, a new piece of football history has been made.
Monday’s dead rubber match in Group A saw 45-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary deny Saudi Arabia’s Fahad Al-Muwallad from the spot .
Just minutes later, however, a second penalty was given to Saudi Arabia, and this time converted by Salman Al Faraj.
That was the 18th penalty sanctioned so far at the finals, equalling the record for a single World Cup with the action only barely past the halfway stage.
Hours later, Cristiano Ronaldo was given a spot kick in Portugal’s Group B finale with Iran, which broke the record as the 19th penalty of the finals.
The Portugal No.7 saw his penalty saved by Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand, who leapt left to deny Ronaldo his fifth goal of Russia 2018.
Of those kicks, 14 have been converted, with five others now either saved or missing the target.
Eight of the decisions, moreover, have been made after consultation with the VAR , a new introduction at these finals.
England, Australia and Saudi Arabia have each received two penalties in the tournament so far, with Harry Kane and the Socceroos’ Mile Jedinak the most prolific players from the spot having converted both of their sides’ efforts.